Pastoral Messages | January 3, 2019

My wife, K.D.’s, car battery died a few days before the new year. The engine teased her with a few sputters before it decided to give up. I gave K.D. a ride to and from work that day, and we let the car sit for the weekend. There was a part of me that hoped that the car would “rise again” after three days. Would that not be the perfect story for an Easter sermon one day? It did not happen. But as we drove the Subaru to get a new battery, I thought about resurrection.

When a car battery dies, we get a new one. That is not resurrection. That is replacement. When we say we believe in “the resurrection of the body,” we do not hope that God is going to trade us out for someone newer and better. That is not encouraging. The exact details are a mystery, but the hope of the resurrection is that something happens in our very own selves.

Most of the time we hear about resurrection when we explore the idea of life after death, but it has meaning for us every day as well. Every day we wake up with the old day behind us and a new day ahead. And in these new days, we hope that God’s love is constantly changing us for the better – to be better at loving God and loving our neighbors, whatever that might look like.

All of this deep thinking brought on by a dead car battery is actually helpful for the new year. Sometimes making resolutions exaggerates a feeling of shame. We promise to give up hollow vices or develop healthier habits, and we get lost in a sense of failure. Maybe changes are for the best, but they do not have to come at the expense of our self-worth.

The hope of the resurrection tells us how much God loves us. Us– not some better version of us, but us. And it takes off some of the pressures of perfecting the way that we live our lives. Every day we wake up to a new day, open to what God’s love can do in our lives that day.

Psalm 51 is a nice anthem for ringing in a new year. Take some of these words as you polish of your list of resolutions for 2019: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take your holy spirit from me.”

May these next 360-plus days be full of grace and peace.

-Josh Kestner, pastor in residency

14 Comments on “New”

  • Char Monical

    January 10, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks Josh. That message has meant so much. A great way to begin our new year.

  • Deb Slothower

    January 8, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Such a positive message from what could be a negative experience!
    Thanks for your insight!

  • Carol Seitz

    January 5, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    I have been missing your sermons so much. Your article held real meaning for me. You are blessed with true love of people and a willingness to invest yourself in their lives and their issues. May you never lose your fresh awareness and compassion. Thanks.

  • dave jessen

    January 4, 2019 at 9:58 am

    awesome message josh! God loves us, us! just who we are

  • Debbie Case

    January 4, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Thank you for this reflection that reminds me and others that our less than perfect selves are loved unconditionally and a new day always awaits. Good read for the heart and soul!

  • Vida Luth

    January 3, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Yes, that is a lot out of a dead battery. But it so hits the nail on the head. Everyone has failures at some time, but the overcoming and the rebuilding of oneself, no matter what the circumstance, always leads us into a new day, a new perspective, a new understanding of ourselves and a God that loves us “just the way we are”.

  • Myrna Tubbs

    January 3, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for your uplifting words. Happy New Year

  • Bonnie Fox

    January 3, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Wherever you land next year, Josh, they will be very fortunate. You have everything a great Pastor needs. Thanks for the New Year reflection.

  • David DeWit

    January 3, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    I needed that. Thanks for the uplift, Pastor J.

  • Julia Bryant

    January 3, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Loved your New Year thoughts, have a great 2919. Julia

  • Diana Holland

    January 3, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Geeze, all of that from a dead battery. What a really nice message.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Gary Maiden

    January 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Good stuff.

  • Ronda Bird

    January 3, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Oh, Josh! What a wonderful reflection!

    Eldon and I have arrived in Utah and are missing you already!!!

  • Larry Dannatt

    January 3, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Very nice reflection. Enjoyed reading it.


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